Autism linked to medically induced labor, according to research


New York residents may be interested in a recent study that links induced labor to an increase in autism spectrum disorder. The study found that babies that underwent an induced labor have about a 13 percent potential increase in their chances of autism.

Induction is the process in which a doctor intervenes in order to begin labor early. This can be necessary when there is danger to the child or mother, or the pregnancy is past its due date. In 2008, 23.1% of births in the United States were caused by induction. Another process, known as augmentation, is used when the doctor needs to help the birthing process along, usually through medication.

The researchers examined data from over 600,000 live births in the North Carolina Detailed Birth Record and Education Research database, of which 5,500 were diagnosed with autism. The data showed that mothers who induced pregnancy were 13% more likely to have a child with autism, but this number jumps to 17% when the delivery is augmented. When both induction and augmentation are used, the study found that 27% of children were susceptible to autism. Despite these results, some doctors caution that expecting mothers should listen to their medical professionals, and not assume that their risks for autism will go up just because of induction procedures. Other causes are found to increase autism risk, such as obesity, diabetes and fetal distress.

The effects of delivery complications or fetal distress can last for the lifetime of a child. There may be long-term care issues and extraordinary medical expenses due to the actions of a negligent doctor or nurse. An experienced and qualified attorney may be able to help compensate the parents for the damages caused to the newborn by a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence.

Source: CBS News, “Induced labor may increase risk of autism in offspring“, Michelle Castillo, August 12, 2013

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